Is it ok to go home?

I live 45 minutes aways and got a dorm just got early classes and bad weather. This is my first week at college and have gone home twice to spend the night. Everyone keeps asking if I’m ok and telling me to stay here. And no I’m not ok. I miss home! But why do I have to stay here? What is wrong with going home?

There is nothing wrong with going home as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your college life and goals.

You are clinging to your childhood life and not taking advantage of integrating into college life. College is the next step in life and you are not ready to take it. It might have been better, and cheaper, to stay at home and commute to a nearby college if there is one or to your local community college.

What do you parents say?

I would encourage you to stay on campus. So much of the friend-making and bonding can happen on off-hours. I know that there are many many kids that are feeling homesick right now, so you are not alone. If you give it a chance, and time, it gets better.

Go home if you want.

I went home way more often than the typical person and still managed to find a spouse and lifelong friends in college. Honestly I think the whole stay or else you’ll be left out rhetoric is very much overblown on here.

How wonderful that folks at your college notice that you are missing out and care about your welfare. That means you have a good chance of finding community and like-minded people if you make the effort.

Yes, it is so hard to make this transition. I was 6 hours away from home in college, and the distance kept me from running back to my childhood and forced me to find friends on campus. Our school encouraged students to stay on campus for the first 6 weeks. That lets you put all your energy into academics and the social aspect of college life.

The newness of college those first few weeks lends itself well to introducing yourself to others, joining another person sitting by themselves in the dining hall, and wandering around your dorm hall and peeking into rooms and saying hello. After a certain amount of time, that window of opportunity closes. It becomes more awkward to try to insert yourself into already defined friendships and small groups.

This is not high school. Your college is your new home for the next few years, and the academics and social go hand in hand. Want to be a part of a study group that actually studies? You need to spend time interacting so you can perceive which students care about their grades and want to make good use of their study time. Want to have friends to go to dinner with? It takes time and being there, especially in these early weeks, to become a part of a group from your hall that walks to dinner together.

You need to make a conscious effort to be on campus. Don’t be a commuter. Get involved. Make an effort to make friends. Attend events on campus. Join a club that interests you. And yes, skype weekly with your family or childhood friends. You aren’t being asked to forget them entirely. Text once or twice a day to let family know what you are up to. Post on FB. Use social media to stay connected with your long time friends. But give these new strangers on campus a chance. Maybe your new best friend is just around the corner.

It is normal to feel some sadness and homesickness during this transition. If you are overwhelmed with emotion, please seek out help. Colleges are equipped with counseling offices to help students transition. Ask your RA how to connect if you need more help making this important transition.

^This. It’s normal to want to take the easy path and return to something familiar and comfortable, but as we all know, the easiest path is not always what’s best for us.

The college experience requires commitment. You are either committed or you’re not. There is no partially committed, unless you don’t mind missing out on the complete experience. If that part doesn’t bother you, then go home as much as you like, but just remember that at some point in life, you will need to move on… if not now, then when?

Everyone at your college is looking for new friends now (first several weeks). If you miss out on activities, or even hanging out with people on your hall, you can find yourself on the outside socially as friendship groups form. You will do yourself a huge favor in the long run to stay on campus as much as possible until Thanksgiving.

This is hard because I was in the same situation that you are in. My school is an hour away and I would go home every weekend during my first year at school. No, I don’t regret my choice to go home however I do agree with others that a lot of the bonding stuff happens during those hours when classes end and you can unwind. I would at least try spending a couple of nights in a row at school. Like during the week stay on campus and then on the weekends take a break and go home.

There’s nothing wrong with going home often. Like @romanigypsyeyes and @collegegurl95 , I was home pretty much every weekend (except for maybe like 2-3 in a semester). It did not hurt my chances at making friends I made or my opportunities to do things I wanted to try (Then again I’m also very social and extroverted, so could’ve helped in my favor). Like other posters said, I’d recommend staying a few nights in a row just so that you can meet people and then go home like once every 3-4 nights.

My college was 15 minutes away from home. I went home a lot to get chores done, eat mom’s cooking (and a bunch of my buddies would tag along too), hang out with family - but i was extremely social at the dorm and it never came in the way of anything. If, however, you are going home because you don’t like the dorm atmosphere, that is an issue that you should address.

I also found it helpful to plan things to do during the weekend at school. Such as find a friend and plan to see a movie or just go for a walk. I think it is really sweet that people are checking up on you and asking if you are okay. Also it is okay to not feel okay. However, it will get hard to stay on campus if you keep allowing yourself to go home. I still say that you should try staying the school week and go home on the weekend. Or on the weekends, have a parent come and take you out to dinner or lunch. It will help you stay on campus and you get to see your parents. However, everyone is different and different things work for different people. So if forcing yourself to stay isn’t working then that is okay. This is a big transition and I know it is a rough deal but you should use this time to get used to being on your own even though it seems awful it will get better over time.

Going home is fine. But every time you go home in these early days, you miss an opportunity to build relationships.

The early days are when the friendships start to evolve. If you’re not there, you won’t be included.

Would you consider phoning more, and going home a bit less, at least early on?

There’s nothing wrong with going home. But it’s possible that these people are questioning your reasons for doing so because they want you to stay there and hang out with them. Being homesick after leaving home for the first time is perfectly natural. Some people experience it far more than others, and some people don’t experience it at all. However, it’s something that passes in time. I’d strongly encourage you to try staying around campus though. There is so much happening on a typical college campus over the weekend, and it’s something you’ll miss out on if you go home every weekend. This weekend is the first official meeting of my university astronomy society. We’re meeting Saturday night at the campus observatory after sunset and checking out the sky until an as yet undetermined time. It’ll be a great time with some like-minded physics and astronomy majors, as well as anyone else with an interest in telescopes and astronomy. Obviously this may not be one of your own interests (and your campus may not have an observatory), but it’s only one example of the many things going on here over the weekend. There are clubs here that go on a different hike every weekend, clubs that meet for community service type projects, athletic clubs, and basically anything else you can think of. It’s worth being around for this kind of stuff.

I’m not really a big fan of the notion that “the college experience” and natural maturation demands living in a dormitory and being around your peers at all hours – for one, it infantilizes commuters (who may have chosen to commute for a whole myriad of reasons) and two, it suggests that the desire to be around your family is somehow childish and you’re taking the “easy way out” of adulthood or something which ignores cultural upbringing and individual familial relationships.

Go home when you want. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. If you want to make friends, participate in your university’s community, and build 4 years of memories that you’ll look back upon fondly, you’ll make it happen regardless of your living situation.

At first, family is more comfortable because you don’t have friends at college…but how are you going to make friends at school? By spending time with them. Stay at school as much you can at first so you can start some independence.

What? No. The idea of moving out of your house at age 18 to go live somewhere with a couple thousand peers is 1) very modern and 2) very strange. The majority of 18-25 year olds - both in the U.S. and worldwide - don’t go move into college dorms. It doesn’t mean that they’re not ready for college, or for adulthood. Adulthood doesn’t happen overnight at age 18. And generations of 18-year-olds have made normal transitions into adult life without sleeping in a dorm.

I went to college 30 minutes away from home and stayed on campus. I went home more often in my freshman year than I did later. As time went on…I wanted to go home less, because I had more to do. I made friends, joined clubs, went to class and generally lived a well-adjusted college life. (In fact, I’d say that my boyfriend had much more to do with me missing events with friends than my parents did.) Also, I’m 29 and if I lived nearby my parents I’d go visit them pretty often, maybe a couple times a week. My two sisters-in-law do live relatively close to my in-laws and they visit pretty often. I have a friend who rents out the apartment in her parent’s basement (literally). They’re well-adjusted adult with friends and hobbies and disposable income. Time spent with or proximity to your parents doesn’t change that.

It’s possible that your new college friends are questioning you because they are concerned, but it’s possible that they are concerned because the college stereotype of needing to live with peers 24/7 for four years in order to make friends has been so overhyped they’ve bought into it.

In one week going home for two nights (which presumably means you went home in the evening or afternoon and came back in the morning) isn’t going to make or break you. You made friends in high school without being there all day long, and people make friends in their natural working lives without living and sleeping nearby everyone else.

Our neighbors DD goes to Stanford- literally 1/2 mile away- and she came home each weekend her
freshman year and most weekends her sophomore year in order to be able to sleep.
The dorms were just too noisy on the weekends.
As she was pursuing a killer pre-med/ physics double major, I dont see anything wrong with what she did.
It kept her sane and on track be able to get top grades in a highly competitive environment.

I’m a sophomore and I still go home every week. I never have and never will spend a complete week at college unless I’m absolutely forced to.

Go home if you want or miss home but college is also a time to reach out and make friends. One of my kids were planning to come home more often than I thought she should. Even Halloween day. I suggested she stay at her dorm and that particular weekend was when she’s starting making close friendship with several girls in the dorm that she’s friends with them today. A very close friendship circle.